POLITENESS IN EMAIL COMMUNICATION AMONG ARAB POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS IN A MALAYSIAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY

Pramela Krish, Qassim Salman

Abstract


Computer-mediated Communication (CMC) is a common form of communication among students and lecturers at universities. This study aimed to explore politeness strategies employed by Arab students in communicating via emails with their lecturers in a public Malaysian university. The research design used in this study is qualitative where fifty emails of both male and female Arab students were collected to identify and analyze the politeness strategies, directness level, and syntactic and lexical choice. Politeness strategies are analyzed according to Brown and Levinson’s (1987) notion of politeness, while Blum-Kulka and Olshtain’s (1984) Cross Cultural Speech Act Realization Project (CCSARP) is used to analyze directness level, syntactic and lexical choice. The findings of the study reveal that female students are more aware of using the suitable strategy; they usually are more indirect in requests that contain high level of imposition, like requests for feedback. Conversely, male students always use direct strategies when they request for feedback. To reduce their force of imposition, male students resort to lexical politeness markers, such as apologies and please. The study concludes with recommendations for further related studies.


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